Hi, I'm Nicole Myers, Licensed Professional Counselor. If you would like to know more about me or my colleagues, please check out our introductions available in video, audio or text.
The question I'm going to be discussing today is: How do I know if the relationship with my ex, or their family, is negative or unhealthy?
You probably don't want to talk to your ex, or his/her family anymore at this point. Though sometimes we do continue, after divorce, to want to talk to the ex-partner or their family. Particularly if you may have been close in some way to some of their family members. Most of us know people who have been divorced and you may even know people who continue to be friends with their ex's sisters, brothers, aunts or uncles. So, one way to consider this is after you interact with these people, do you feel better or worse than before you interacted with them? If you are feeling worse, this should tell you that something is not going well in that interaction, even if it seemed to be positive during the interaction itself. If you feel like you feel better after the interactions and it continues that way for you each time you see them, quite possibly you're having good interactions with those people.
I strongly suggest that if you're continuing to have a relationship of that sort with your ex's family, check-in with yourself from time-to-time as to how much interaction are you having with them and is that affecting you in other ways that may be negative. Are you over sharing with them that may get shared back with your ex-significant other in ways that could be harmful to your continued well-being? Many people do, as I said, continue to have relationships with relatives of their ex-partner and this can be positive if both parties agree that they want to continue a friendship. If one party wants to continue a friendship but the other party is looking for gossip to spread, damage will be done. Always check yourself to see, is gossip getting spread after you spend time with and/or talk to your ex's relatives?
With your ex, is the relationship unhealthy after you divorced? You can tell this quite often by noticing whether you are accomplishing things for your children in these interactions with your ex. If you are then probably you're doing the right thing. If you are ending up with more fights with your ex-significant other, even though you no longer share a home, that should clue you in that something is not going well here. Are you getting your needs met for revenge in these interactions? If you're feeling good because you got one over on your ex-significant other, or his/her family, that is another indicator that you should check yourself and pull back from that behavior because you will be modeling, or showing your children, how to be hurtful to others rather than how to be a mature adult who moves on from their struggles to help those in need such as your children.
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